2024 is going to be a historic year across Louisiana and South Texas as two broods of millions of periodical cicadas will emerge from underground at the same time, an event that only takes place every 221 years.

Cicadas Return To Midwest
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2 Large Broods Of Cicadas To Emerge In 2024

In mid-May of 2024, North America will experience a cicada event that only happens once every 221 years.

The last time this happened was 1803 when Thomas Jefferson was president of the United States.

What's the big deal?

Two groups, Brood XIX and Brood XIII of cicadas will emerge from underground at the same time, meaning millions and millions of cicadas will be flying through Louisiana and South Texas to lay eggs before the end of their life cycle.

What makes this historical is that Brood XIX only emerges once every 13 years, and Brood XIII emerges once every 17 years.

However, every 221 years the math lines up to where both broods emerge at the same time.

Brood X Cicadas Emerge After 17 Years Underground
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From Fox59.com -

"Brood XIX, the largest periodical cicada group, is set to emerge in mid-May 2024 in over a dozen states: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. These cicadas, which emerge every 13 years, usually stick around through mid-June.

Around the same time, another cicada brood known as Brood XIII — which emerges every 17 years — will be surfacing in northern Illinois, but also as parts of Indiana, Iowa, Michigan and Wisconsin."

 

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Cicadas travel in large numbers primarily for reproductive purposes. The behavior you are referring to is often associated with periodical cicadas, which have long life cycles, typically either 13 or 17 years.

When it's time for a specific brood of periodical cicadas to emerge, they do so in large numbers.

After mating, female cicadas lay eggs in tree branches. The eggs hatch into nymphs, which then fall to the ground and burrow into the soil to feed on tree roots.

The nymphs remain underground for the majority of their long life cycle before emerging as adults to start the cycle anew.

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Gallery Credit: Andrea Vale

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